In 2020, Nanaia Mahuta was the first indigenous Māori woman to take the position of Minister of Foreign Affairs in New Zealand. In 2021, she delivered an impressive speech on New Zealand - China relations. 

 

Nanaia Mahuta starts her speech by addressing Māori ancestors, reflecting a Māori holistic view on nature. This instantly lifts her speech to the level of long-term sustainability in our interconnected global ecosystem. She calls for respectful dialogue and sustainable cooperation between the taniwha, a Māori mythological creature, and the Chinese dragon. In juxtaposing taniwha and dragon she speaks beyond the immediate local reality of a small country like New Zealand vis-a-vis an economic giant like China. She pleads to stay true to New Zealands value systems of democracy and Human Rights; explicitly referring to what has happened in Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and to cyber incidents. 

Nanai Mahuta's speech represents a global tendency of growing awareness of the need for sustainability and true dialogue beyond exploitative economic gain.

 

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